President McCourt: What Impact Will Frank Have on the L.A. Dodgers in 2011?

Dennis SchlossmanCorrespondent IOctober 14, 2010

LOS ANGELES - SEPTEMBER 3: Dodgers owner Frank McCourt attends the game between the San Francisco Giants and the Los Angeles Dodgers on September 3, 2010 at Dodger Stadium  in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

It hasn't even been two weeks since the end of the 2010 season, and already Los Angeles Dodgers owner Frank McCourt has stamped his footprints all over the franchise.

On October 7, the Dodgers announced that the club broke off ties with team president Dennis Mannion and that Frank would assume Mannion's duties of overseeing the day-to-day operations of the organization.

Mannion began working for the Dodgers in 2007 as their chief operating officer and was promoted to president in March of 2009. Prior to arriving in Los Angeles, Mannion was employed by the Baltimore Ravens as senior vice president of business ventures.

Ironically, Mannion's termination came not long after he testified favorably for Frank at the McCourt divorce trial.

Then on Tuesday, the Dodgers announced season ticket prices for next season, and although the pricing structure was a bit complex in disguise, the overall average price per seat was indeed increased.

Folks in Dodgertown who are optimists hope the revenue from the increase in ticket prices and the money which was once Mannion's salary will be carefully utilized to upgrade much-needed player talent, while the pessimists assume that the bulk of the cash will be used to pay the fees of Frank's high-profile attorneys.

And for the fans who are hoping for a court-ordered sale of the team, it's not likely to happen anytime soon.

As if he were anticipating an adverse decision from Judge Scott Gordon, Frank has already notified the court system that he will be seeking a second trial to prove that the Dodgers are solely his because the assets he used to buy the team belonged to him before he and Jamie were married.

Although Gordon officially has until December 28 to rule on the case, it's speculated his decision will arrive before the Christmas holiday.

With a foreseeable second trial looming in the future and the possibility of an appeal to Judge Gordon's decision, it's conceivable that Frank will maintain ownership of the team at least for the duration of the 2011 season.

And with settlement talks continuing, if Jamie does accept any proposal from Frank, it's guaranteed that any stake in the franchise will not be a part of the divorce settlement, which means that Frank will maintain control of the Dodgers indefinitely. 

For the season ticket holders who don't see any light at the end of the tunnel in terms of improvement, they're faced with the decision of renewing their ticket packages.

Many who believe that Frank will use club funds to cover his own personal debt have already stated that they will in no way contribute to Frank's private bank account.

As a perk to induce current season tickets holders to make a commitment, the Dodgers have offered a five-part installment plan to help spread out the cost, but the initial payment must be remitted before October 29, which indicates an immediate need for cash by either the organization or Frank himself.

If the same season ticket holders don't commit to the offer and opt to attend single games instead, they can expect to pay almost double the original price in some cases.

It's difficult to guess Frank's line of thinking—he either plans on milking the franchise for all it's worth before he gives up ownership, or he's genuinely planning for the long haul and plans to invest wisely.

Or perhaps he is thinking somewhere in the middle.

Only time will tell.

Yet, for the ever so loyal and dedicated Dodgers fan—the driving force of the franchise—it promises to be a very rocky and turbulent offseason—and the fun has just begun.